A little part of discovering…
Hi ! I’m a French girl leaving in Palermo for 10 months as an European volunteer. My name is Clémence. I’m 23 years old. I love to work on photography, to create, to travel and to handle time with friends. I came from Nantes, a dynamic and beautiful town in the west part of France, near to the end of the Loire river. I discovered that Palermo got this cultural and human dynamism as well, which make me feel better as home when I came here in September 2019.
I already did a volunteer service in my own country last year and needed time for my professional project. So it was the perfect time to get this experience in Italy. I choose this country because I wanted to learn Italian, most of all. I’m enjoying now to talk in this beautiful language. I’ll improve more as well because I still need to learn more.
When I was looking for a mission, I saw this one in Palermo at Libera Scuola Waldorf.
It’s an alternative school with a teachers and personal team really involve in the confidence of the student kids. The kids can come from ~3 years old till ~15 years. Their way to teach follow the Steiner philosophy. A way to teach without a class fuller than 10 or 12 school student, without note so with more time to explain and give knowledge to them and without any competition aspect. That was a really allure way to see the school. For my personal improvement, I knew it was the good project for my year. So I candidated and didn’t leave it away until I got the opportunity to come here.
«Che faccio qua ? »
My mission is to support a 14 years old girl with special needs. She’s a school student in Libera Scuola Waldorf 7th grad class. She can do a lot of things: painting, make jokes (a lot of jokes!), try again and again to improve her dance moves, for examples. But she’s doing it slowly and sometimes with a big difficulty of movement. She speaks less than us. She began to speak at school last year. She needs to improve all these aspects. She also loves water. It’s her matter because she’s so in fluant materials to create and to live in the present moment. She’s the kind who live with a lot of freedom in her personality and in same time too much of restrictions, her body as well.
So I’m helping her to live in school with hours to respect, activities to do and involvement in the school work to get. It’s an handsome work because you really feel useful and you got a deep human relationship. If she’s not allright today, I have to deal with it and find a double-energy for the school day. Energy for her to be more in her school day and energy for me to give her this source of zeal.
I have other tasks to do for the Libera Scuola Waldorf, like help one kitchen work, or take care of the space by cleaning stuff. It’s happening when my girl is not at school for the day. Most of time, I’m only working on a day with my girl : from her arrival to the lunch time. I’m doing it from September of 2019 and finish it in the end of June 2020.
There are also some events in the school like the Day of «San Martino» where we went for a walk on mountains with only light in our home-made lantern, or the «Bazar» where the school create a market with responsable items, jewelry, soap, etc. for school, for parents, and who ever is coming ! We also did the «Carnevale» of course ! All the day, the whole school was celebrating and enjoying to be together. Such a good memory!
This experience show me more about how to handle a common rythm. When I’m with my girl, I must get her rythm for being with her and, in same time, find a way to get her in the rythm of school. So I take more time to talk, to make her understand how much time we have before the next class, etc. It needs a lot of patience and sometimes it’s hard, to be honest. But she needs it, so I’m getting motivation back. It can be usefull for later when I’ll work with team, as well.
In plus of this daily activities, I got the opportunity to create my own project in the school. It’s an activity we must do for and during the volontary time. Because of the exceptional pandemic situation, it was not sure how I will do it (by computer, in face-to-face, etc.), but I got all the time the insurance to do it. I planned to do an italian class about the right of the pictures (law) and the principe of the journalistic angle and the proximity law that use journalists to write articles. I got this knowledge during my studies and I did this class by animations activities that I knew how to do it thanks to my last year of volontary in France. At the end, I did this course for one class of the school. I choose the age of teenagers because it’s closer to their habits with phones, and to their growth time. They’re becoming more autonomous, but still need good informations to understand well. I’m glad to be able to try a new activity here.
The law of proximity in Italian that journalists used.
Volonteering is not just the mission
Volonteering is not just a discover of your abilities in, most of the time, a relationship work. It’s also a moving in a new city, a new culture, a new way of living. Learning a new language gave it to me a little headacke at the beginning of my journey. It passed out really quick because I’m lucky to have a mother language near to Italian.
It’s an experiment as well about what’s a language are. I discovered it’s not just a way for communicate. It’s also a way of act, with gesture, movements and way of expression. So I get a step to learn myself to another way to act.
The culture is so mind-attractive as well. I had to find my place in all of this. When I got it, I began to enjoy a lot to learn Italians’ way of living, cooking, etc. I saw how they used to take care about olives to make olives oil. Great stuff in Sicilian nature with such amazing people.
I took time (and money as well… haha) to discover a little more the country. I went to Milano, to Napoli by my own and I went to Rome with the «On-Arrival Training» organised by National Agency. All the time a great time to discover, to deal with another part of Italian culture. Even Italy is not the biggest country of world, there’s so much to discover and so different way of living: the north and the south don’t have the same road stuff, for example.
I knew already Sicilia because I went for a roadtrip with two friends in last June. It was such an amazing time also because it’s such a beautiful region of Italy! I’m glad I didn’t see just Palermo. It was, as well, an unexpecting opportunity to meet people from Libera Scuola Waldorf in first time and get one of my most human experience of my life.
I felt so useful, and I know a little more than before as well that it’s so important to take a time for others.